Zimbabwe: Lack of electoral reforms 'threatens credibility of elections'

2018-06-09 10:03


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The Zimbabwean government's failure to carry out legal and electoral reforms threatens the credibility of national elections scheduled for July 30, a rights group has said.

In statement, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that despite President Emmerson Mnangagwa's repeated promise for a free and fair election, the ability of voters to freely choose their leaders was in serious doubt.

"President Mnangagwa needs to go beyond mere rhetoric and take genuine steps to level the playing field for all candidates and their parties," said Dewa Mavhinga, the Southern Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "A key test will be whether state media give equal coverage and access to all political parties without bias or favor."

HRW said that it had conducted interviews across the country and found that security forces were involved in the electoral process.

"Zimbabwe’s military and other state security forces have for many years interfered in the nation’s political and electoral affairs, adversely affecting the right of Zimbabweans to vote for the candidates of their choice.

"Mnangagwa and his administration should level the electoral playing field by preventing the military from engaging in partisan politics or interfering in electoral processes, and taking strong action to deter violence and intimidation by the military during the campaign period and elections," said HRW.

This came a few days after Mnangagwa said that the electoral "playing field" was "perfectly level", following the uninterrupted demonstration by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance in Harare on Tuesday.

According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Mnangagwa said that opposition parties were now enjoying democracy and were supposed to be happy that they were able to express themselves freely.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

"They are enjoying democracy which exist in this country," Mnangagwa was quoted as saying.

"I think they are so happy that there is an environment where they can express themselves right, left and centre. But of course in relation to the forthcoming harmonised elections, already less than two week ago, I signed into law the reforms relating to the electoral act, so the playing field is perfectly level."

Two other rights group have also raised their concern over the plebiscite, saying several reforms were needed to ensure a credible vote and make a "break with the past".

The National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute called for a more transparent voters' roll, meaningful observation by political parties of the vote and the military's public pledge to serve the winner regardless of party.

Read more on:    hrw  |  emmerson mnangagwa  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  zimbabwe 2018 elections

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

IT Manager (contract)

Cape Town CBD
Communicate Cape Town IT
R330 000.00 - R458 000.00 Per Year

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

Cluster Financial Manager

Cape Town
Network Finance
R950 000.00 - R1 000 000.00 Per Year

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.